February 28, 2006
The Nationals just signed Pedro Astacio to replace their recently acquired starting pitcher Brian Lawrence, who just had shoulder surgery that will probably keep him off the roster for most if not all of the season. Astacio pitched for the Rangers and Padres last year. At the age of 36, he has a pretty solid reputation as a veteran, even though his statistics don't look very impressive. As for Lawrence, who formerly pitched for Padres, the Nationals chose not to give him an MRI exam before completing the trade (for Vinny Castilla), because it would have cost upwards of $10,000. See Washington Post.
Meanwhile, at Space Coast Stadium, the Soriano-Vidro soap opera continues without resolution...
Ron Selter of SABR responded to my assertions about Shibe Park's measurements in its early days by bringing to my attention further details about left field configuration. Apparently there was no mid-season change [in 1909] as had been indicated by Lowry in Green Cathedrals (1992). A revised edition of that masterpiece is pending, and Mr. Selter has a lead role in that project. I still have questions about some of the dimensions, however, especially the distance to the backstop. One or two of the the diagrams on the Shibe Park page will be revised soon.
A news item in the New York Post (hat tip to Mike Zurawski) clarified the discrepancy (see Feb. 17) over the seating capacity for the Mets' future home. It will have 42,500 seats, plus standing room for another 1,600 fans, yielding a total capacity of 44,100. It will be built on the east side of Shea Stadium, beyond center field, with center field toward the northeast. What about the name: Giuliani Field? Pataki Park?